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Motomu Toriyama at the 2010 Game Developers Conference
|Occupation||Director and scenario writer of video games at Square Enix.|
Motomu Toriyama (鳥山 求 Toriyama Motomu) is a Japanese game director and scenario writer who has been working for Square Enix since 1994. He initially worked on cutscenes in Bahamut Lagoon and Final Fantasy VII. Toriyama started directing with Final Fantasy X-2 and has continued doing so with large-scale projects such as Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Since 2003, he has been directing his own team of scenario writers at the company. He is currently directing Mobius Final Fantasy and is a member of Square Enix's Business Division 1, and part of the Final Fantasy Committee that is tasked with keeping the franchise's releases and content consistent.
Motomu Toriyama joined Square around the time of the Final Fantasy VI launch in 1994. He later mentioned that he enjoyed how everyone on the development team had the opportunity to contribute their ideas without any solid job description. He was assigned to work on Bahamut Lagoon as his first project due to his lack of game development experience. For Final Fantasy VII, Toriyama designed events such as the ones taking place at the Honey Bee Inn. As the designers were given much artistic freedom, he would often create cutscenes that were unlikely to be approved and thus were eventually changed or removed. Toriyama also wrote and directed many of the scenes revolving around the romance between Aerith Gainsborough and Cloud Strife. He tried to make Aerith an important character to the player in order to maximize the impact of her death later in the plot.
After the merger between Square and Enix in 2003, many rookie staff members had to be trained and there were more new platforms to develop for with the release of the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable. Toriyama decided to assemble and direct a team of scenario writers and joined various game projects. He later collaborated with Final Fantasy X main programmer Koji Sugimoto and supervisor Yoshinori Kitase to create a Final Fantasy VII tech demo for the PlayStation 3. Development of this took around 6 weeks. During the first year after the development start of Final Fantasy XIII in April 2004, Toriyama thought up a story premised on the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology created by Kazushige Nojima. In March 2006, when the structural part of the narrative started to come together and lead scenario writer Daisuke Watanabe joined the team, Toriyama showed him a rough outline of what he had written and asked him to flesh out the story and to correct how everything would connect.
Toriyama has been the scenario director and supervisor on games in the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series as well as Dissidia: Final Fantasy and The 3rd Birthday, which entailed the creation of a story concept and the supervision of the character conception and scenario writing by his team of authors. For Lightning Returns, he added an online communication system known as the "Outerworld Services". Among others, it enabled players to write posts on social networks that would then appear as a non-playable character's comment in another player's game. Toriyama's goal with this was to create an online community where the individual members would interact and enjoy the game's world together without being online at the same time, as a precursor to online features found in eight-generation video game consoles. The main ideas for all the areas in Lightning Returns came from him as well. Toriyama revealed at the end of 2014 that he was working on his next project.
Toriyama believes his strength is in directing games that are very story-driven. He also thinks that it becomes very difficult to tell a compelling story when the player is given a huge amount of freedom to explore. According to him, the most important aspect of a Final Fantasy game is the characters. Toriyama explains that there are different approaches to creating a protagonist: with Yuna from Final Fantasy X, the general plot had already been set when the character was conceived; with Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII instead, the character's personality was decided upon before the backstory was written. He feels that a developer needs to "essentially fall in love at first sight with a character" to "keep [themselves] going". Toriyama considers the voice the "main image of the character" and thus "the most delicate part of making the character".
Toriyama has stated that the aim of the linear game design used in the first half of Final Fantasy XIII was to feel like watching a film. This was done to absorb the player into the story and to introduce them to the characters and their battle abilities without becoming distracted or lost. Toriyama explained that the amount of memory and processing power needed to produce impressive graphics was the main reason not to have a seamless battle system for Final Fantasy XIII. He is interested in using first-person shooter games for inspiration rather than Western role-playing video games, as he believes they give a better sense of tension during battles. Toriyama would later use games such as Red Dead Redemption and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as inspirations for Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, respectively. He feels that his role of director marked a shift from creating a game world based on his own vision to unifying a team's ideas into a cohesive whole.
|1996||Bahamut Lagoon||Super Nintendo Entertainment System||Story event planner|
|1997||Final Fantasy VII||PlayStation||Event planner, submarine chase section planner|
|1999||Racing Lagoon||PlayStation||Scenario writer, event and map planner|
|2001||Final Fantasy X||PlayStation 2||Event director, scenario writer|
|2003||Final Fantasy X-2||PlayStation 2||Director|
|2007||Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings||Nintendo DS||Director, scenario writer, event direction|
|2007||The World Ends with You||Nintendo DS||Special thanks|
|2008||Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King||Wii||Scenario writer|
|2008||Dissidia: Final Fantasy||PlayStation Portable||Scenario supervisor|
|2009||Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days||Nintendo DS||Special thanks|
|2009||Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord||Wii||Scenario director|
|2009||Blood of Bahamut||Nintendo DS||Director, scenario writer|
|2009||Fullmetal Alchemist: Prince of the Dawn||Wii||Scenario director|
|2009||Final Fantasy XIII||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||Director, scenario designer (story outline), lyrics|
|2010||Front Mission Evolved||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows||Senior scriptwriter|
|2010||The 3rd Birthday||PlayStation Portable||Scenario director|
|2011||Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy||PlayStation Portable||Special thanks|
|2011||Imaginary Range||iOS, Android||Supervisor|
|2011||Fortune Street||Wii||Text writing|
|2011||Final Fantasy XIII-2||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||Director, lyrics|
|2013||Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Lightning Strikes event)||Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4||Scenario writer|
|2013||Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||Director, lyrics|
|2013||Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster||PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita||Supervisor|
|2014||Spirit Yankee Soul (Racing Lagoon event)||iOS, Android||Scenario director|
|2015||Mobius Final Fantasy||iOS, Android, Windows||Director, lyrics|
|2015||Dissidia Final Fantasy (2015 video game)||Arcade||Special thanks|
|2017||Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward (Patch 3.56)||Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Mac OS X||Special thanks|
|2017||Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood||Windows, PlayStation 4, Mac OS X||Special thanks|
|2017||Itadaki Street: Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary||PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita||Scenario supervisor|
|2018||Dissidia Final Fantasy NT||PlayStation 4||Special thanks|
|2009||Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-||Original plan|
|2010||Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- Fabula Nova Dramatica Alpha||Original plan|
|2010||Final Fantasy XIII Side Story: A Dreaming Cocoon Falls into the Dawn||Original plan|
|2010||Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- Fabula Nova Dramatica Omega||Original plan|
|2010||Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i-||Original plan|
|2011||Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments Before||Original plan|
|2012||Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments After||Original plan|
|2013[A]||Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Chronicle of a Chaotic Era||Original plan|
|2014||Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories-||Original plan|
|2016||Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV||Special thanks|
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